The Weight Loss Process

The following is an excerpt from chapter 3 of Your Diet is Bullshit: A Simple Guide to Losing Weight.

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Now that you understand the science behind losing weight, we must discuss some facts about it. While the principles outlined in the previous chapters are relatively simple, adhering to them can be an entirely different challenge. We must acknowledge these challenges and discuss the difficulties you’ll face along the way. To ignore them would be to set unrealistic expectations. And having unrealistic expectations is one of the major barriers people face when they set out to lose weight. The most common unrealistic expectation is that of rapid improvement. It’s important to understand that losing weight is a long-term process.

This is another lie you’ve been told, and it’s one that many people still seem to believe. Every magazine, advertisement, and fitness guru advocates “one trick to lose your gut in one week!” or “a shortcut to six-pack abs!” or “the one secret to shredding fat!” Everybody has a method that will give you results in an incredibly short amount of time. Once again, most of these are bullshit. They are lies meant to sell products or services. They act as though they happen to have the one secret or shortcut that nobody else knows. Just pay $19.99 per month and you could know it too!

Perhaps the most important fact in weight loss (or any type of body transformation for that matter) that nobody seems willing to admit is this:

It takes a long time.

There are no shortcuts. There are no tricks. There is only time.

This might be a painful realization. You won’t reach your goal in a week or a month or maybe even a year.

“That sucks!” you say. “If I won’t look good in a month, what’s even the point?”

Yes, it does suck. But why shouldn’t it? You are literally reshaping your body. You are changing its entire composition. If we could all reshape our bodies in a few weeks, movie stars and models would be out of a job. You don’t want Chris Hemsworth to be jobless, do you?

You’ll find that progress breeds further progress. When you finally lose that first five or 10 pounds, you’ll realize just how possible this whole thing is. It’s a long and difficult process, but it’s completely possible. When you realize that, it helps solidify the knowledge that long-term discipline trumps all. It may even become easier. Physically, you’re still doing the same thing: eating less and moving more. But mentally, it’s like unlocking a whole new worldview. When you understand that progress is the result of putting your head down and taking the correct steps every day, it allows you to go further than you ever have before. Don’t focus on the end goal; focus on the process. Focus on eating the right amount of food or getting the correct amount of exercise. Focus on the now. Yesterday and tomorrow don’t matter. There is only today. Do what needs to be done today. You don’t climb a mountain by focusing on the peak. You climb a mountain by putting one foot in front of the other. Take one step at a time, and soon you’ll see the whole world sprawled below you.

In fact, the process never ends. This is why you must so profoundly embrace it and learn to enjoy it. Many people never learn this. Why is it so common to see people lose large amounts of weight only to gain it all back a few months later? Because they were so fixated on the goal that they didn’t learn to embrace the process. They believed that once they reached their goal, the process was over. They relaxed back into their old habits, the habits that made them overweight in the first place. Once they hit their end goal, there was nothing left to do.

The process never ends. You must accept that you’re leaving your old habits behind. You’re leaving the easy path for the hard one. It’s a difficult decision to make. The path you’re leaving is soft and comfortable and well-traveled. It welcomes you with open arms and ensures an easy journey to the end. But don’t let the ease of this path deceive you. It’s viciously dangerous. It contains hidden dangers lurking within the comfort. The danger of complacency. The danger of unfulfilled potential. The danger of regret. The other path is more difficult. It’s the road less traveled. It’s overgrown and hilly. It twists and turns and seems to never end. You’ll struggle and fall. You’ll bloody your hands and knees. But you’ll become stronger. Day by day, your steps will become more confident and your hands will become calloused and hardened. Soon you’ll find yourself pushing through the bramble and sprinting up the hills. You may still fall, but you’ll leap back to your feet as though it’s nothing. That’s the magic. The path hasn’t become any easier. You’ve become harder. If, at this point, you were given the choice to step back onto the easy path with all of its comforts, you’d deny it, because although the hard path is long and difficult, it’s more rewarding than the easy path could ever be. It brings you true happiness, not the superficial joy of comfort. It challenges you to reach your true potential. It allows you to be proud of your struggle. And that makes all the difference.